Vowing revenge, Iran pays homage to IRGC generals killed in strike blamed on Israel

“Martyrs in the Road to Jerusalem”: While Israelis prepare for possible retaliation thousands of people gather in Tehran for Quds Day celebrations.

On Friday, thousands of people gathered to pay their respects to seven Revolutionary Guards who were killed in an attack in Syria that Iran blamed Israel for.

Airstrikes in Damascus destroyed the Iranian consular annex, killing two Guards and their generals.

Israel hasn’t commented on the attack, but analysts saw this as an escalation in its campaign against Iran and regional proxy states that could trigger a wider conflict beyond the Israel-Hamas war in the Gaza Strip.


The ceremony on Friday coincided with Quds Day (Jerusalem) when Iran and its friends stage marches to support the Palestinians. Press TV in English, the official mouthpiece of Iran’s government, reported that there were millions of people rallying all over the world. Pro-Palestinian demonstrations took place at 2,000 different locations throughout Iran.

Iran said two brigadier-generals of the Guards foreign operations arm Quds Force, Mohammad Reza Zahedi, and Mohammad Hadi Haji Rahimi were among those killed in the strike.

Zahedi, the senior commander of Iranian forces, was reportedly in charge of the IRGC operations in Syria and Lebanon, the Iranian militias in those countries, and the ties to Hezbollah.

The 63 year old had served in the Guards for more than 40years and was the most significant Iranian soldier since the United States launched a missile at Baghdad Airport in 2020, killing General Qassem Solimani who led the Quds force.

In the strike on Monday, Rahimi, Zahedis’ assistant, and five other IRGC officials were also killed, as well as at least one member from Hezbollah. According to the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, 16 people died in total.

Iran and Hezbollah, Iran’s proxy, have both vowed to punish Israel for its attack. Two Iranian sources told Reuters, despite the possibility of a larger war, that Tehran would respond in a way that avoided escalation.

An AFP reporter reported that the coffins for the seven slain IRGC soldiers were placed Friday on two trailers in one of Tehran’s largest squares.

On the trucks were pictures of the dead men, along with the slogan, “Martyrs in the Road to Jerusalem.” The Gaza war began after Hamas launched its attack on Israel on October 7, in which more than 1,200 people died and over 250 were taken hostage and brought to the Strip. Tehran supports Hamas, but denies any direct involvement in the attack.

On Friday, a placard read: “We will regret this crime.” It echoed the pledge of Iranian supreme leader Ayatollah Khamenei to strike back following the Damascus attack.

Mourners carried Iranian and Palestinian flags as well as the Iranian-backed Hezbollah Lebanese group.

They chanted “Death To Israel!” and “Death To America!”

The bodies of Revolutionary Guards who were killed in Damascus, will be transported to their homes for burial after Friday’s funeral in Tehran.

The Iranian state television showed footage of similar events that took place in other Iranian cities, including Mashhad Qom Sanandaj Shahrekord.

Fars News Agency reported that Ziad Nakhla, the leader of Islamic Jihad who fights alongside Hamas on Gaza was among those in attendance.

Local media reported that the Revolutionary Guards Chief General Hossein Salami, President Ebrahim Raisi and Hassan Rouhani also attended.

Salami warned that no act of terrorism against the holy system would go unpunished. He spoke from a large podium with the Arabic phrase, “Flood of the Free”, emblazoned across it.

He added that “the collapse of the Zionist regime is very possible, and God’s Grace, it will be close,” saying the US was “hated by the entire world, particularly in Muslim-dominated nations” because they supported Israel.

Khamenei stated on Wednesday that Israel’s attack in Damascus was a desperate effort to “save them from defeat” at Gaza.

Benjamin Netanyahu, the Prime Minister of Israel, pledged to take action against any attempts to harm Israelis as the country prepared for an Iranian response in the wake of Israel’s alleged killing of the head commander the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps in Syria.

Netanyahu, speaking at a security cabinet meeting shortly after a telephone call with US president Joe Biden said: “Iran has been committing crimes against us since years – directly and through proxies.” Israel, then, acts both defensively and aggressively against Iran and its proxy forces.

Netanyahu said: “We’ll know how to defend us and we’ll act according to a simple principle: those who harm us or intend to harm us will be hurt.”